By FWi staff

SHEEP producers in England will shortly be able to apply to the 2000 Sheep Annual Premium Scheme Quota National Reserve.

Farming Minister, Lord Donoughue announced today (Tuesday) that applications will open on 5 May and will run until 2 June.

Lord Donoughue said the changes, announced in December 1997, were introduced to help new entrants into sheep farming.

For this national reserve, these changes will mean that producers who first entered farming and submitted a Sheep Annual Premium Scheme (SAPS) claim in the 1999 scheme year, but did not receive an allocation from the 1999 SAPS Quota National reserve – whether or not they applied – will be eligible to apply to the 2000 national reserve.

“I hope this will go some way towards assisting young people and new farmers to obtain quota,” said Lord Donoughue.

A further change has been introduced from this year to quota deserted land of the reserve.

This will bring UK practice into line with EC regulations although eligibility to this category will be limited to producers taking over land where the tenancy or share-farming agreement of the outgoing producer was drawn up before 1 January, 1993.

MAFF will inform applicants of the outcome of their applications before the 2000 SAPS quota trading period opens around the middle of September.

It is probable that the demand for quota will exceed supply in the English LFA, noted Lord Donoughue.

“However, unsuccessful applicants will be informed in time to have the opportunity to acquire quota from the market before submitting their SAPS claims,” he added.

If producers wish to apply to the national reserve, it is their responsibility to obtain an application form, complete it correctly and return it to their regional service centre by 2 June.